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Campfire Challenge: Osso Buco with Beer, Olives, and Gremolata

Camping doesn’t mean you can’t eat a gourmet meal. This Campfire Osso Buco with Beer, Olives, and Gremolata is easy to prepare with coals and a Dutch Oven.

Osso Buco with Beer, Olives, and Gremolata by FamilySpice.com

To celebrate the end of school and the beginning of summer my family and I went camping this weekend. We went with another family, and I spent the weekend watching the kids attempt fishing. For me, it’s like watching paint dry. But, after one of our busiest weeks, I was so exhausted that watching paint dry and kids pull up their empty hooks out of brown water was a very relaxing affair.

My boy fishing by FamilySpice.com

The kids lost interest when they couldn’t catch anything. The Professor caught tree branches, most of the kids would just lose their bait. Then a dad pulled up a catfish. Sure, it was a small catfish, but the blood started pumping and the kids eagerly returned to their fishing poles. Middle-Child was the first kid to catch something completely on his own. In total he caught 2 blue gills and a catfish, all were of course, released back into the water. They were too small to eat and I had other plans for dinner. Middle-Child was so excited about his success that he announced that fishing was HIS sport.

Catfish from camping trip by FamilySpice.com

My friends that were camping with us are always eager to try out my cooking experiments. In fact, this camping trip was concocted just so I could cook Osso Buco in our cast iron dutch oven. I had never made Osso Buco before and I knew this would be a great gourmet meal to make while camping. You can’t eat burgers and dogs every time you camp.

Prepping the coals for Osso Buco with Beer, Olives, and Gremolata by FamilySpice.comSo, while the kids were rejuvenated with fishing, my friend and I were cooking dinner. I browned the veal shanks first, then sautéed the veggies. I realized that I had forgotten the wine, but we had beer, so we used that instead. The shanks were quietly simmering for 3 hours. When I served dinner, the tender meat was falling off the bones.

I had bought a roll of polenta from Trader Joe’s and sliced them into rounds and toasted them up with olive oil in a pan. I served these with the Osso Buco. Mmmmm…. lip smacking good!

Cooking up Osso Buco with Beer, Olives, and Gremolata by FamilySpice.com

Another campfire cooking challenge was won!

We have a few more camping trips planned for the summer and we are already thinking about what we should cook next. Of course, that seems to be more important than the destination!

My boy finally catches his fish - by FamilySpice.com

And, on our final morning, the Professor finally caught his fish: a blue gill about the size of an infant’s hand. He laughed at the size of the fish, and we quickly threw the little one back in the water.

Mad about your Dutch Oven? Here are my Dutch oven cooking tips:

Camp meals will never be the same once you learn How to Cook in a Dutch Oven - by FamilySpice.com

This recipe is also featured in my new cookbook, The Camp & Cabin Cookbook (Countryman Press 2018). I have 100 recipes that are all prepared outdoors and over fire using multiple techniques. Learn more about my new book and where you can get your copy here!

The Camp & Cabin Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Prepare Wherever You Go by Laura Bashar of FamilySpice.com

Osso Buco with Beer, Olives, and Gremolata

Osso Buco is a Milanese veal stew. When slowly braised for many hours, the delicious meat falls off the bones and melts in your mouth. Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine, February 2003


  • 6 cross-cut veal shanks, approx. 1-lb each
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 TBS butter, unsalted
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 30 oz diced tomatoes, canned, with juice
  • 1 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted & halved
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp thyme, fresh
  • 3 sprigs of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 TBS lemon zest, grated
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 2 tsp lemon zest, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF and rinse and pat dry with paper towels:
    • 6 cross-cut veal shanks , approx. 1-lb each
  2. Season both sides of the shanks with:
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  3. Coat each side of shanks with:
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  4. Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat and add:
    • 2 TBS butter, unsalted
    • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  5. Brown both sides of the shanks in 2 batches, 10 to 12 minutes per batch, and reserve on a plate.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and add:
    • 1 large celery stalk , finely chopped
    • 1 medium carrot , finely chopped
    • 1 large onion , finely chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves , finely chopped
  7. Sauté vegetables until softened and lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.
  8. Stir in:
    • 30 oz diced tomatoes, canned , with juice
    • 1 1/2 cup kalamata olives , pitted & halved
    • 1 cup beer
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 1 1/2 tsp thyme, fresh
    • 3 sprigs of flat leaf parsley
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 TBS lemon zest , grated
  9. Bring to a boil and place shanks into the pot in 1 layer.
  10. Cover pot and place the Dutch oven in the middle of the oven until very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
  11. In the meantime, make the gremolata by combining:
    • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley , chopped
    • 1 garlic clove , diced
    • 2 tsp lemon zest , grated
  12. When osso buco is done, discard parsley sprigs and bay leaf.
  13. Garnish with gremolata and serve immediately.


Serving Suggestions: Serve with risotto, polenta (pictured above), potatoes or a hearty, crusty bread.

Cooking Tips: This dish is great for campfire cooking in a cast-iron Dutch oven. Heat coals until smokey and glowing orange, using a Chimney Charcoal Starter. Brown veal and vegetables in the Dutch oven with 10-12 hot coals underneath it. When you are ready to combine everything and braise the stew, place 7 hot coals underneath the Dutch oven. Cover and place 16 hot coals evenly on top of the lid. Osso buco (without gremolata) can also be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely, uncovered, then chill, covered. Reheat, covered, in a 325°F oven 30 to 40 minutes.

Prep Time:

Yield: Serves 6

Cook Time: